The importance of a student newsroom

This is going to be another slightly self-righteous from a know-it-all college student. Sorry, internet, for the inconvenience.

I stumbled, recently, across an article that was asking if student newsrooms were necessary as the journalism world shifted more toward a digital focus.

At first, I was terrified that all the respondents and research would show that, no, students don’t need a newsroom.

Because I know, firsthand, that I do need one. I’ve gained so much experience just by sitting in my tiny student newsroom. It’s a crucial space. It’s a second home. I’ve made some of my closest friendships in my tiny student newsroom. I met my girlfriend there.

So, thank god that I read the rest of the article and saw that, by and large, the sentiment around the country is that, yes, student papers should retain their newsrooms.

Yes, a lot of reporting can be done remotely and that shouldn’t be discredited. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve reported a story or two without getting out of bed.

But it’s not always the best way to do it. The best stories come out of legwork, and that work needs a base of operations.

I’ve written stories that, if I hadn’t been able to promise a source a secure and private room, I wouldn’t have been able to get the background that I needed to know what to dig for. There have been breaking news stories that without a newsroom to quickly come together and collaborate it, our coverage wouldn’t have been as thorough — or even doable at all. You need that physical space to organize.

I can accept that, maybe, one day, The Towerlight  won’t have a print edition anymore. But I cannot accept that it will one day not have a newsroom. I can’t imagine a world where all journalists telecommute. The job of telling the news is collaborative. Journalists, reporters, editors, managers, designers and photographers need a collective space to do that work.

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